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Archive for January 3rd, 2004

Sue Hensel’s Opening

Saturday, January 3rd, 2004

Emily by Susan HenselMy friend Susan Hensel is having an art opening tomorrow at the Lansing Art Gallery. Her show is called “Dynamic Storytelling, a Retrospective.”

The opening starts at 1pm. I have to work at JoAnn at 2pm. Tony and I were going to go together but maybe we’ll take two vehicles so he can hang out a bit. Good thing we planned to go first thing!

Susan will be doing a talk at 2pm if anyone local is reading this in time to go. It would be quite worthwhile to make it for the talk, if you can do it.

The photo here is “Emily,” a literary sculpture Susan created about Emily Dickinson (which is now sold). I got to see it once. Lucky me!

Public Thanks to Susan, and Goodbye
Susan is moving to Minnesota very soon. I’m going to miss her. At least she introduced me to Tony! Both of us will miss her but we can hang out together more instead of seeing Sue, I guess.

I think Tony may miss her more than me. That would make sense, anyway, because Sue would make artful food and share it with Tony on a regular basis. Tony’s a good cook himself, and has appreciated the good food Sue has made for him over the years.

Susan is indirectly responsible for the fact that I’m knitting again. I took a bookmaking workshop from her about 3 years ago when I started getting bored with polymer clay. I was already doing soft block printing so I figured I would try bookmaking. What I found instead was that sewing the spine of my book fed me on a very deep level. I needed to go back to fiber, and I nearly had a physical gut reaction when I started pulling that thread with a needle, for the book.

When I told Sue my experience, she put me in touch with Nancy McRay. I took a one-day weaving workshop with Nancy (I made a beautiful wool and brushed mohair scarf which was stolen from a coat room one week later) but I didn’t really like weaving much. Nancy told me about a feltmaking workshop with Joan Livingstone in Kalamazoo. In the end I went to that workshop. I loved touching wool again. I used to sew with wool a lot in the 1980’s (before I discovered polymer clay… before my divorce). I realized that day how much I had missed working with wool. I loved the hands-on feltmaking process.

After that class I did a number of feltmaking projects including “The Fabric of Friendship” which was a feltmaking performance. I did that show under the auspices of The Art Apartment, a group which has since disbanded but included Susan and Nancy (and Leslie Donaldson), which did unusual artforms and performance art pieces in East Lansing.

At some point while exploring feltmaking, I decided to surf the web about Michigan wool. Somewhere during that surfing evening I discovered http://socknitters.com and my life changed. I haven’t been the same since. And I’m very glad of it! Thanks, Sue, for starting this journey. Like a small pebble that creates an avalanche, your encouragement has taken me a long way!